There’s a lot of “bumper sticker” career advice that I find more harmful than helpful. Here’s a sampling:

1 | Work hard, play hard.

Why do I have to go hard at everything? Why’s it got to be so intense?

2 | If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.

It’s good to keep a check on if you’re getting complacent or settling, but it’s not the size of the dream that matters. What matters is if the dream is meaningful to you. #smalldreamscount

3 | Do what you love and the money will come.

LMFAO. We know this is not always true, right?! You can find anecdotal evidence of people this has worked for, but there’s more than this going on under the surface. Your passion for something does NOT ensure its success. Van Gogh sold one painting during his life, so even if you have an extraordinary talent you are not ensured success. I want my clients to love what they do, but their passions are not a reliable way to find that in a career.

4 | If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

I find this so dangerous because it sets up completely unrealistic expectations and turns people off of work that could be a really good fit. Every job has bad days. Every jobs has components that feel like work. The goal should not be to “never work”; the goal is to be connected to what you do and rewarded for it.

5 | If you work hard, you’ll be rewarded.

If you’ve been that person who gives 110% only to become the person who is now tasked with 120% without further compensation or support, you know what I mean. Going the extra mile is only rewarded in a functional system. If you’re in a dysfunctional system, you’ll just be expected to work harder without anything in return. And that’s before we even take into account systemic efforts to keep some people down while elevating others, regardless of work ethic.

How about you — Have you taken any of this advice? How did it work out for you?

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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